Hearing loss due to diving

rudyengrudyeng Posts: 149 Deckhand
You guys ever heard of hearing loss due to deep diving ?  I've lost about 50 % of my high notes. wonder if deep diving was and issue.

Mostly spearfish 20-60'. No tanks. Any ideas ?

Replies

  • gogittumgogittum SW New MexicoPosts: 50 Greenhorn
    rudyeng said:
    You guys ever heard of hearing loss due to deep diving ?  I've lost about 50 % of my high notes. wonder if deep diving was and issue.

    Mostly spearfish 20-60'. No tanks. Any ideas ?
    Doesn't matter, tanks or not, tho' free diving is prob'ly worse 'cause you're going down faster and can't take as much time to equalize.  If you experience pain on descent, you're stressing your eardrums.  Pain is a sign of injury being done.

    I taught diving for some years (NAUI Instructor #1410, NASDS #SDI 160) and certified over 2,000 students.  I had consistent problems with equalizing left ear and am nearly deaf in that one now.
  • stc1993stc1993 Albany, GA Carrabelle, FLPosts: 6,330 Admiral
    1st ive ever heard of that.  It makes sense though.  Can't be good on your hearing.  Would ear plugs help?
  • gogittumgogittum SW New MexicoPosts: 50 Greenhorn
    edited January 5 #4
    stc1993 said:
    1st ive ever heard of that.  It makes sense though.  Can't be good on your hearing.  Would ear plugs help?
    NO......earplugs are a guaranteed serious problem.

    As you go deeper, the pressure of the water increases and pushes the eardrum inwards, causing the pain.  (air pressure at sea level is 14.7 psi.  Water pressure increases to where at 33 ft depth you'll add an additonal 14.7 psi - 1 atmosphere or double the surface pressure.  A volume of air is reduced by 50%)  When you equalize the pressure - pop your ears - you let higher pressure air from your throat balance that pressure from the inside, via the eustachian tubes.

    Your chest is flexible and as you descend, the air in your lungs is compressed, balancing the outside pressure.  That compressed air is what balances the pressure in your ears. 

    When breathing off a tank, you're breathing air at exactly the surrounding pressure, so the results are the same.

    When you put an earplug in, you create an isolated pocket of air between the eardrum and plug.  As you descend, air will naturally go up the eustachian tubes and push the eardrums out.  The earplug gives no way for outside water pressure to balance that.  Won't take long before the eardrum ruptures outward.....and That would Really be painful.
  • gogittumgogittum SW New MexicoPosts: 50 Greenhorn
    P.S.  It has happened to where the outside water pressure has pushed the earplug inwards - they're designed to go in.  Trouble is, when you surface, that now-higher-pressure air behind the earplug is trapped and the plug won't move outwards again.  Remember - they're designed to go "in."  Result - ear drum bursts inward.
  • gotsnodooksgotsnodooks New Smyrna Beach FlPosts: 109 Deckhand
    I had an ex of mine I went to take to get certified so we could dive together...during her certification dives she had an issue equalizing and she did the dive anyway just dealing with the pain and ended up rupturing her ear drum.  Best thing to do is if you start to feel any discomfort is to re-ascend a bit and try to equalize...if you can't and the pain persists its an aborted dive plain and simple.  Also if you dive with any kind of congestion from like a cold or anything you can expect to have problems.  Some people will take an antihistamine but of it wears off while at depth you can have a reverse issue and have trapped pressure in the ears which won't release while ascending.  Diving can definitely have an effect on hearing.
  • rudyengrudyeng Posts: 149 Deckhand
    Wow excellent explanation. Some of my diving buddies have some type of hearing loss. We are all free divers and had issues equalizing in the past.  
  • Capt KurtCapt Kurt Posts: 401 Deckhand
    I certified in 1978 and logged over 1,000 dives before I stopped logging them.  I have tinnitus which I assume is from diving.  
    visit Pure Pilates in Fort Lauderdale - http://www.pure-pilates.net
  • gogittumgogittum SW New MexicoPosts: 50 Greenhorn
    Capt Kurt said:
    I certified in 1978 and logged over 1,000 dives before I stopped logging them.  I have tinnitus which I assume is from diving.  

    Haha........tinnitus is a fact of life.  Drives me nuts at times.  Many years of shooting without earplugs didn't help, either.  See - ear plugs do have their uses.

    I certified as Instructor in '69 with NAUI at Scripps La Jolla and in '70 with NASDS at Asilomar in Pacific Grove (Carmel), CA.  (took 1st place)

    Does anyone know if Hal Watts is still associated with the dive shop in Orlando ??  He was there at NASDS in '70, but he'd be up in years by now.  That was a good time and wonderful time of my life.
  • FletchFletch Merritt Island, FLPosts: 2,417 Moderator
    Ruptured eardrum from improper equalization is probably the most common form of hearing damage from recreational diving. Eardrums are pretty resilient though so most will heal to near normal pre-injury condition. It's not all that uncommon for saturation divers switching from high helium mixes to pure/high O2 during decompression to rupture a round or oval window in the inner ear leading to instant hearing loss. Never heard of it in the recreational diving world though.
    "Ninety percent I'll spend on good times, women and Irish whiskey. The other ten percent, I'll probably waste..."
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